The Mission

The Family Life Development Center
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Updated November 12, 1998

The Mission


The Family Life Development Center was established by New York State in 1974. Its mission is to improve professional and public efforts to understand and deal with risk factors in the lives of children, youth, families and communities that lead to family violence and neglect. It focuses on strategies and programs to help vulnerable children and youth by strengthening families and communities. As an interdisciplinary unit of the College of Human Ecology, the Center accomplishes its mission through research, training, outreach and education. It carries out its mandate through program development, implementation and evaluation projects serving New York State, the nation and the international community. The current areas of special interest are programs to guarantee children’s rights, the role of emerging technologies in training, and childhood violence prevention.


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Current Programs of the Family Life Development Center


The Center receives core funding from New York State and currently operates over $3 million in programs funded through competitive grants and contracts at the state and federal levels. The Center occupies offices on the Cornell campus at Ithaca. The College of Human Ecology is one of four New York State statutory colleges at Cornell University. Its legislated purpose is to improve family well-being and human welfare, human development and the quality of the human environment. Its education, research and outreach missions include human development, nutrition and health, economic and social well being, and environmental design and technology.



The Child Protective Services Training Institute is in its 19th year of providing training to the professionals who investigate, manage and treat the more than 100,000 annual cases of child abuse and neglect in New York State. Nearly all child protective workers and supervisors currently active have been provided core training on the attitudes skills and knowledge needed to do protective work. In 1995, over 200 participated in core training and 1,000 in 50 offerings of advanced courses.
Principal Investigator: Michael A. Nunno Project Director: Marylu McPheron



Collaboration and Community Building is a federally funded initiative to develop and test a curriculum that will help child welfare and other human service workers to collaborate in protecting children and building safe and supportive community environments for childrearing. Contact:Frank Barry




The Child Abuse Prevention Network provides a national computer network for the field of child abuse and neglect. Building on results of a national survey of 1,000 professionals in child abuse and neglect, the project created an Internet presence to meet the needs of the field. Prototyping and and demonstations of Internet applications in child abuse prevention are being developed as a major aspect of the project. The Network has a private sector partner, LifeNET, Inc., and has formed special alliances with key national and international child abuse organizations.
Contact:Tom Hanna



The Residential Child Care Project has reached workers in 40 states, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom with its ongoing program of institutional abuse prevention and investigation. Its acclaimed and widely disseminated training in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) is offered in special Institutes at Cornell University, or at arranged sites anywhere in the USA or abroad. Tested and proved in hundreds of residential child care institutions, TCI has also been adapted for other congregate care settings as well.
Project Director: Michael A. Nunno Contact: Martha Holden



National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN) acquires, preserves and disseminates high quality datasets relevant to the study of child abuse and neglect. The Archive facilitates secondary analysis by distributing data in ready-to-use formats for microcomputers and mainframes, providing technical support to data users, and sponsoring training programs for researchers.
Contact: John Eckenrode



Strong Families, Strong Soldiers is a program with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps to identify key family violence prevention strategies, develop operations manuals and implement initial training efforts for the U.S. military’s Family Advocacy Programs at installations and bases around the world.
Contact: Marney Thomas



Prenatal/Early Infancy Program (PEIP) A Follow Up Study is assessing the long-term effects of a landmark nurse-home visiting program 15 years after the initial intervention. The study will measure the enduring impact of the intervention on both the mothers and their children.
Contact: Jane Powers




Violence Prevention in Childhood is a research and program development initiative to redirect violent beliefs and respond to violent trauma in childhood.
Contact: James Garbarino




Protecting the Rights of Children focuses on efforts to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Current efforts include an international project in collaboration with advocacy groups in Costa Rica and Canada, and a two week training institute dealing with “The Child’s Right to be Heard” in legal, child protection and mental health settings based upon research on memory, perception, and adult-child communication.
Contact: James Garbarino



“Just For Kids!” addresses the issue of psychological maltreatment as issue for protective services, prevention, community awareness and parent education. It responds to the needs of professionals and the general public for information and consultation.
Contact: James Garbarino





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